About the author  ⁄ Doug Jenkins

6/18/15 – 5:14 A.M.

A Findlay man was sentenced Wednesday for starting the fire that destroyed Sink’s Flower Shop last summer. The Courier reports 20-year-old Bryant Smith will spend six years in prison.

Smith did not offer a motive for the fire. He had worked at the florist when he was a teenager, but the owner of the business said there was no ill will between them. Smith did say he was under the influence at the time of the arson.

The blaze also damaged two nearby homes. Smith will be forced to pay restitution and the insurance company for Sink’s could file separate claims.

MORE: The Courier

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6/18/15 – 5:01 A.M.

River levels have been falling, but the Blanchard is still running high in the area. In Findlay the river remains in the moderate flood stage. At last check it was at just over 12.1 feet, and actually rose slightly late Wednesday night. However the National Weather Service is still calling for the water to drop below flood stage this afternoon.

At its current level, the Blanchard is impacting River Street and Apple Alley on the west side of Findlay, Blanchard Street between Sandusky and Main Cross, and several streets south of Clinton Court near Riverside Park.

Downstream in Ottawa the river crested Wednesday morning at just over 25.8 feet. The water hasn’t dropped much since then as it was a little over 25.2 feet at last check. The Blanchard is expected to fall below flood stage tomorrow morning. High water is an issue on Ottawa’s south side at the current river level.

One of the rivers causing heavy flooding in the Putnam County village of Kalida is falling. The Auglaize River is still in the moderate flood stage at 18.1 feet, but is down from the crest of 18.8 feet. It should drop below flood stage early tomorrow morning.

The other river causing issues in Kalida is the Ottawa River. It’s monitored in Lima and has dropped from 21.1 feet Tuesday afternoon to 14.5 this morning.

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6/18/15 – 4:20 A.M.

Owens Community College students could be getting a break from rising tuition costs this fall. School officials are planning to freeze tuition for students who pledge to take 15 credit hours per semester for up to three years. The “Take 15″ tuition guarantee is designed to help students graduate on time and start their careers sooner.

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Pictures provided by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.  Click to see larger version.

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6/17/17 – 8:02 A.M.
Blanchard St from E Main Cross St to E Sandusky St
E Main Cross St from Marcelle Ave to Bright Rd
Smith St from Clinton to Cross Ave
Cross Ave from Clinton to Dunn Ave
Meadowbrook  from  Graceland to Brookhaven
Brookhaven, Meadowbrook & Sunhaven
Sunhaven from Graceland to Brookhaven
Central Ave  from Clinton to Hemphill Blvd
Carnahan Ave from Clinton to Hemphill Blvd
Hemphill Blvd from S Blanchard St to Riverside Park
River St @ Hurd Ave
Liberty St @ Apple Alley
Findlay St  @ N/S alley to River St
Howard St  from rear of Walmart to Broad Avenue
S River Rd from CR 140  to Broad Ave
Stanford Pkwy  from Westfield to S River Rd
E Main Cross St  from S Blanchard St to Osborn bridge
Eastowne & Wedgewood to E Main Cross St
Brookside from 6th St to Blanchard Ave
Stall Drive  from Brookside to 5th St & Amelia Ave
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6/17/15 – 7:12 A.M.

Two people were injured in a crash in southern Hancock County Tuesday morning. Kentontoday.com reports the accident happened on U.S. 68 south of U.S. 30.

A semi driven by an Akron man left the road and overturned, flipping the trailer into the northbound lane of traffic. The trailer was hit by a car driven by 61-year-old David Ruhlen of Dunkirk. Ruhlen and his passenger, 28-year-old Stephanie Ruhlen, were taken to Blanchard Valley Hospital for treatment of injuries.

The crash remains under investigation.


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6/17/15 – 7:06 A.M.

Fostoria residents will likely see a tax renewal on the ballot when they head the polls this fall. The Courier reports Fostoria City Council gave first reading Tuesday to an ordinance that would place a renewal of a 5-year, 1 percent income tax on the ballot.

$600,000 from the tax is automatically set aside for capital improvement projects in the city.

Mayor Eric Keckler said the money raised by the tax accounts for roughly half of the city’s budget.

MORE: The Courier

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6/17/15 – 5:03 A.M
Update – 7:46 A.M.
Update – 8:16 A.M.
Update – 12:20 P.M.

The Blanchard River has receded, but will likely be back on the rise soon. In Findlay, the Blanchard stood at 13.02 feet at 6:30 this morning but has dropped to 12.54 feet. The National Weather Service revised their crest prediction from 14 feet at 8 p.m. to 13.7 feet. That is still above the major flood stage mark of 13.5. The river is expected to drop below flood level tomorrow afternoon. At 14 feet as much as half of Findlay is impacted by flood water.

Sandbags have been made available for Findlay residents at the northeast corner of West Crawford and South West Streets.

As for Eagle Creek, it is rapidly falling. The creek crested in major flood stage at over 11.3 feet Thursday afternoon. It has since dropped below flood level to the 6-foot range.

Downstream in Ottawa the Blanchard has gone down as well. There the river was 25.88 feet at 6:30 a.m. but has dropped to 25.7. The river is expected to crest at 26 feet sometime tomorrow. At that level the river nears the point where it hits the bottom of the bridge at the county garage site. Flooding is also taking place along south Walnut and west Second Streets on the south side of Ottawa.

The Blanchard in Ottawa isn’t expected to exit flood stage until Friday.

Elsewhere in Putnam County the Auglaize River is projected to crest in the moderate flood stage at 19 feet later this morning. The river is predicted to exit flood stage late Thursday afternoon.

With the high water, several area roads near the Blanchard River are closed. We have a list of closures on our website. Notably in Putnam County, the Sheriff’s Office is asking people to avoid Kalida, saying all state routes in the village are closed. U.S. 224 west of State Route 65 in Ottawa is also closed.

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6/17/15 – 6:44 A.M.

A flood mitigation project for the Blanchard River in Ottawa has been approved. The Courier reports the Maumee Watershed Conservancy District voted to move forward during their Tuesday meeting. The plan calls for rebuilding the Road I-9 bridge. The structure has been blamed for acting like a dam and slowing down the river when water is running high.

The plan also calls to a diversion channel to be built near Ottawa. Some structures in the flood plain would also be torn down.

A group of residents opposed to the diversion channel voiced their opposition during the meeting.

A total of $8 million has been approved by the Ohio legislature for flood mitigation projects along the lower Blanchard River.

MORE: The Courier

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